My DIY Level 2 Charger

EVmatch: the Airbnb of EV charging.

Uricasha

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A lot of you seem to know what you are talking about. Could anyone offer a little advice? I don't know much and am not going to mess around with electricity. I think I should have a fairly easy install for an electrician to do. Can someone please tell me if I would need to upgrade my breaker( I think I have enough space on the second one) and if you see any other issues that may cause a more difficult issue when installing.

Pics 1 and 2 are my breakers. 1 is full right? How do I find out how many amps I can pull from 2.

The other pics just show where I guess the wire could run. From behind the breaker in the ceiling and right to the wall there.

This doesn't seem like it should be complicated for an experienced electrician correct?

I'd appreciate any advice. My dog also says thanks!

I'm assuming Panel 1 has a breaker above the picture with 200 written on the toggle handle?

Like Melinda said, the total load of your second panel can't exceed 100 amps @ 240 volts. With that being said, the only true way to determine how much more load you can add to panel 2 is by determining the actual load at the outlets or lights that are downstream of the breakers. Based on the breaker labels, I don't foresee you exceeding 20 amps of load on Panel 2 (outlets and lights in the age of LED/CFL lights)

If it were my house, I would install a 50 amp (double pole/240 volt) breaker in panel 2 and have the electrician install a NEMA 14-50 outlet for EV charging. You are looking at about $500 for parts and labor.
 
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$ Trillion Musk

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@AdamHolmes did you try calling Tesla? If I only knew that Tesla had installation service in my state I would've gone with them. No need to worry about price gouging either.
 

Ip Man

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In my state you need a safety on off (shut off) switch by the electrical outlet. This would be a fire hazard should it go up in flames.
Other than that-well done-good article. I chose to use the tesla wall charger myself, but this will work for one Tesla just fine.
If you're trying to charge 2 EVs at the same off during off peak hours this will not work depending on how much charge is needed.
Do your math first before going about your installation. Also, if you have solar-charging during the day during off peak is best.
Overnight rates in my area are now equal or have become peak hours. Electric company is trying to profit off EVs now.
So, if you have solar-look into powerwall as a possibility. This will eliminate anything the electric company can do to you.
 

slicedbread

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It is my hopes that this article will serve as an informative discussion of how I installed my own Level 2 Charger. As a very important disclaimer, nobody would ever recommend that you work with electricity unless you have a full 100% understanding of how it works, and most importantly that touching live wires can cause death or serious injury. In light of that, use a licensed electrician to install your Level 2 charger. One more thing, I'm not a professional so don't take the practices I use here as elusion to doing it correctly.

1. Permitting
  • I live in the City of Phoenix; therefore, my first step in this whole process was to apply for building permit, more specifically. "Minor Electrical Work". For the City of Phoenix, this type of permit can be applied for online without any electrical plans at this website. The cost for this permit was $250.
  • The City of Phoenix defines Minor Electrical Work as "The addition of of one or two new electrical branch circuits not to exceed 60 amps at 120/240 volts, single phase." For this application, I am installing one 50-amp branch circuit which is the recommended circuit rating for a NEMA 14-50 plug which can supply 40 amps/240v to your Tesla. More on this later. See Tesla's Mobile Connector information page here.
2. Materials

All of this stuff can be ordered from Home Depot/Lowes/Amazon/Canada's equivalent. Links are included to give you a reference.
  • Corded Mobile Connector ($520 US) - Dedicated for garage. I plan on moving in the next couples years and having a universal NEMA 14-50 outlet would be more valuable to non-Tesla fan boys such as ourselves :)
  • Cable Organizer ($25 US) - Tesla's OEM cable organizer that allows you to neatly hang the cord on the wall
  • NEMA 14-50 Outlets - Qty:2 ($17.98 US) - I have a two car garage so all the outlet related items will have a quantity of 2.
  • NEMA 14-50 Outlet Wallplate - Qty:2 ($14.78 US) - I believe these may be cheaper at Home Depot.
  • 2 Gang Outlet Box - Qty:2 ($12.18 US)
  • 50 amp Breaker ($9.47 US) - There are multiple main service load center types that take different types of breakers. Make sure you buy the same breakers as you currently have in your service panel. There could be a lot discussed on breaker interchangeability.
  • Heat Shrink Tubing - ($7.97 US) - Used for connections in conjunction with electrical tape when splitting the circuit.
  • Clamp Connector - ($15.96 US) - These are used at the junction box to secure the 6 gauge wire.
  • 6" x 8" inch junction box - ($17.68 US) - Junction box for splitting the line going from the breaker box to the two NEMA 14-50 outlets. This box may seem big but I am using some pretty heavy gauge wire so it was nice to have the room.
  • Electrical Tape - ($4.26 US)
  • 6-gauge wire - ($160 US) - 75 feet for my installation needs.
  • Split Bolts - Qty: 6 ($33.76 US) - Used to splice the 6 gauge wire in the junction box. You could also use a copper wire clamp for this connection.
  • I shopped around for the lowest price and ended up paying $267 for all the parts needed for the outlets to route electricity.
  • For the Tesla charger/cable organizer it was $600 with tax and shipping.
  • Permit was $250
  • Also, this was installed in 2016 so I was able to take advantage of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure tax credit which gives me back 30% of all the install cost/hardware cost at tax time. This tax credit expired in 2016. I will get back $260 so my cost for everything is $857.
3. Tools
4. Electric Service Panel

  • This is the most dangerous part of the install. The first thing I always do prior to accessing the innards of the panel is to open the main disconnect to the panel. After I open the panel, I check for voltage with my non-contact voltage tester. Anytime my hands ever go near this panel, I always check for voltage, even if I checked it two minutes earlier. As a rule of thumb, anytime I touch a wire, I always check for voltage. Well enough with the disclaimer, here are some pictures of the panel with the breaker installed
  • With the 75 foot roll of 6 gauge wire, I started in my attic. Directly above my service panel in the attic, there were wires coming up between the inner drywall and the stucco outer wall. Since this wire is so thick, I simply straightened it and blindly routed it from the attic down to the service panel. As you can see from the photos (more specifically photo 4), there wasn't much room in the service panel openning to receive the 6 gauge wire I shoved down from the attic. To make it a little easier, I cut a 6" x 6" hole in the drywall directly opposite of the service entrance openning and I was able to easily receive the 6 gauge wire from inside the house then push the wire outside towards the service entrance openning. I pulled a couple feet of wire through the service entrance wire openning and followed the same wire routing method that the service panel already had.
  • To connect the wires to the circuit breaker, I stripped approximately 1/2" of insulation from the wire thus exposing the copper wires. Then insert the bare copper ends into the circuit breaker (photo 3) and tighten until its really snug. (There is a torque spec for this, but this is what we call good ol american cowboying). It doesn't matter which wire goes into each hole as long as they are the black or red wires....
  • For the white wire and bare ground wire, I just connected them to the ground rails in the panel. I have read that the neutral and ground bars should be separate but the person who wired this before me did not split them out and the City inspector didn't seem to care either.
  • Since I now had a new breaker, I had to knock out two of the tabs on the cover panel and label the breaker.
  • From here, we are done with the service panel connections. I opened the breaker to the wires I just installed, put the cover on the service panel, then shut the main disconnect to the panel.
  • As always, I ensured the wires I just installed did not have voltage by checking with my non-contact voltage tester after I opened the breaker.
5. Attic
  • Because I'm using non-metallic sheathed wire (NM-B), I simply rolled the wire to the junction box in the attic.
    • In the picture below, the wire on the left is coming from the breaker/service panel. The other wire on the bottom of the junction box and the one on the right are going to the two NEMA 14-50 outlets in the garage.
  • To setup the junction box, I secured it to a sturdy piece of wood and attached 3 clamp connectors to accept the 6 gauge wire.
  • For the wires going into the junction box, I routed the wire through the clamp connectors and left approximately 12" of wire to play with in the junction box.
  • To attach the three 6 gauge wires, I had to use two split bolts, one piece of heat shrink tubing, and lots of electrical tape. I did this for all three 6 gauge wires, 120v red, 120v black, and neutral white. For the green ground wires, I used a twist connector and electrical tape. The ground wire was also attached to the junction box. I had to use two split bolts per connection because each split bolt only accepts two wires; therefore, there were actually two different connections at each wire bundle connection.
  • Now, I routed the rest of the electrical wire from the junction box to the two NEMA-14-50 outlets in the garage by going down in between the walls. This can also be seen in the picture above.
6. Garage / NEMA 14-50 Plugs

  • To cut the holes for the NEMA 14-50 outlets, I used the "2 gang outlet boxes" as a template then used the drywall saw to cut a neat rectangle in the drywall.
  • The 6 gauge wire were routed through the back of the "2 gang outlet boxes" and the "2 gang outlet boxes" were secured behind the drywall.
  • Using the instructions on the box, I attached the wires (red, black, white, bare copper) to the NEMA 14-50 outlets and tightened the wire.
  • The NEMA 14-50 outlets were then secured to the "2 gang outlet boxes" and the wallplate was attached.
  • I also had some label plates manufactured to let any future homeowners know that they can't exceed 9.6kW of charging load at once between both outlets. That's what the breaker is for as well .... I guess.. Interesting question for another thread.... Should we set the charging rate to 20 amps each at the same time or split our time using 40 amps?

  • After my install, I had to make an all-day appointment with the city inspector so that he could spend 5 minutes looking at the installation and justify the $250 permit fee..
7. Code References (NEC 2011, there is an NEC 2017 but the City of Phoenix referenced NEC 2011)

  • The NEC/NFPA 70 is now available for free at this link
  • It is also available as a searchable ios app on the app store.
  • 210.23.a.1 - Cord and Plug Connected Equipment Not Fastened in Place.
    • The rating of any one cord-and-plug connected utilization equipment not fastened in place shall not exceed 80 percent of the branch-circuit ampere rating.
      • This is the code that states we can only charge 40 amps on a 50 amp circuit.
  • 210.24 Table 210.24 Summary of Branch-Circuit Requirements
    • 50 amp circuit requires 6 gauge copper wire and 50 amp receptacle ratings (NEMA 14-50 outlets are rated for 50 amps)
  • 310.10.a Installation - Dry Locations
    • Insulated conductors and cables used in dry locations shall be any of the types identified in this Code
      • NM-b wire is identified in the code
  • 334.23 Non-metallic Sheathed Cable in Accessible Attics
    • The installation of cable in accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with 320.23.
  • 320.23.a Cables Run Across the Top of Floor Joists
    • "blah blah". Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 6 ft of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.
      • This code allowed me to lay the cable flat across the joists in the attic without protection. All the wire "was more than 6 feet" from the attic entrance.

Thanks!!!!. Please keep your hate mail to a minimum and let me know if there anything you would like to be expanded on :)

Thank you for amazing post. I've been doing this research but started to think I'm in over my head until I've read your post. Based on everything you've put, I have some decision and was hoping you out someone could help.

First of, I'm in Florida so code may be different.
I'm planning to install single 14-50 socket on garage wall next to garage door.
My garage walls do not have dry wall at the location where I want to install the socket. Above garage I have attic where I can just lay nm-b cable and it would be up to code. To drop cable from attic into garage and install 14-50 socket about 4 feet off the ground, I believe I'll need to have 6 feet drop from ceiling With wire going through conduit. Conduit will connect to metal/aluminum box with 14-50 socket. So somehow, I need to ensure that conduit goes into attic with nm-b cable is up to code. I'm thinking an upside down J shape conduit with clamp on both ends. bent end of the conduit will be in the attick. And suggestions on this or recommendations where to get this info? Spoon feeding this information is encouraged!
 

Uricasha

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Thank you for amazing post. I've been doing this research but started to think I'm in over my head until I've read your post. Based on everything you've put, I have some decision and was hoping you out someone could help.

First of, I'm in Florida so code may be different.
I'm planning to install single 14-50 socket on garage wall next to garage door.
My garage walls do not have dry wall at the location where I want to install the socket. Above garage I have attic where I can just lay nm-b cable and it would be up to code. To drop cable from attic into garage and install 14-50 socket about 4 feet off the ground, I believe I'll need to have 6 feet drop from ceiling With wire going through conduit. Conduit will connect to metal/aluminum box with 14-50 socket. So somehow, I need to ensure that conduit goes into attic with nm-b cable is up to code. I'm thinking an upside down J shape conduit with clamp on both ends. bent end of the conduit will be in the attick. And suggestions on this or recommendations where to get this info? Spoon feeding this information is encouraged!
Do you just have drywall on the ceiling of your garage?
 

slicedbread

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Do you just have drywall on the ceiling of your garage?
Ceiling, small part of garage where electrical panel is (about 2-3 feet wide), and the shared wall of the garage and the rest of the house (garage back wall). Facing garage from outside, the electrical panel is on the right, so parking head in, with charger port on the left, I need to get the 14-50 socket brought to the left side of the garage.
 

Uricasha

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Thank you for amazing post. I've been doing this research but started to think I'm in over my head until I've read your post. Based on everything you've put, I have some decision and was hoping you out someone could help.

First of, I'm in Florida so code may be different.
I'm planning to install single 14-50 socket on garage wall next to garage door.
My garage walls do not have dry wall at the location where I want to install the socket. Above garage I have attic where I can just lay nm-b cable and it would be up to code. To drop cable from attic into garage and install 14-50 socket about 4 feet off the ground, I believe I'll need to have 6 feet drop from ceiling With wire going through conduit. Conduit will connect to metal/aluminum box with 14-50 socket. So somehow, I need to ensure that conduit goes into attic with nm-b cable is up to code. I'm thinking an upside down J shape conduit with clamp on both ends. bent end of the conduit will be in the attick. And suggestions on this or recommendations where to get this info? Spoon feeding this information is encouraged!

To answer your question, 334.15b of the NEC code requires you to protect nm-b cable from damage with conduit so your idea is what the code requires.

For the transition from the attic to the garage, your idea is also good. I used one of these when I installed my solar. https://m.acehardware.com/product/i...mhfdLWclW5stxLWYstq9TekCqZgFgoOxoCMPQQAvD_BwE
 

Badback

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Thank you for amazing post. I've been doing this research but started to think I'm in over my head until I've read your post. Based on everything you've put, I have some decision and was hoping you out someone could help.

First of, I'm in Florida so code may be different.
I'm planning to install single 14-50 socket on garage wall next to garage door.
My garage walls do not have dry wall at the location where I want to install the socket. Above garage I have attic where I can just lay nm-b cable and it would be up to code. To drop cable from attic into garage and install 14-50 socket about 4 feet off the ground, I believe I'll need to have 6 feet drop from ceiling With wire going through conduit. Conduit will connect to metal/aluminum box with 14-50 socket. So somehow, I need to ensure that conduit goes into attic with nm-b cable is up to code. I'm thinking an upside down J shape conduit with clamp on both ends. bent end of the conduit will be in the attick. And suggestions on this or recommendations where to get this info? Spoon feeding this information is encouraged!

The NM cable may not be placed on the attic floor. Attach it to the rafters with plastic two nail clips. Use non-metallic (plastic) liquid tight conduit to come down from a hole in the ceiling to the top of a grey plastic or metal conduit box. This stuff is flexible and can be easily attached to the nearest stud with two hole plastic straps. Use a liquid tight connector on the box, the conduit just pushes in. Make sure to attach the ground to the receptacle and the metal box (no connection to plastic box if used).
 

slicedbread

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To answer your question, 334.15b of the NEC code requires you to protect nm-b cable from damage with conduit so your idea is what the code requires.

For the transition from the attic to the garage, your idea is also good. I used one of these when I installed my solar. https://m.acehardware.com/product/i...mhfdLWclW5stxLWYstq9TekCqZgFgoOxoCMPQQAvD_BwE

Is the 6 foot length for nm-b to be in conduit going to be a problem? I wasnt sure what material and diameter the conduit should be (metal or aluminum).

Thank you for the suggestion on the part instead of bending conduit.
 

slicedbread

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The NM cable may not be placed on the attic floor. Attach it to the rafters with plastic two nail clips. Use non-metallic (plastic) liquid tight conduit to come down from a hole in the ceiling to the top of a grey plastic or metal conduit box. This stuff is flexible and can be easily attached to the nearest stud with two hole plastic straps. Use a liquid tight connector on the box, the conduit just pushes in. Make sure to attach the ground to the receptacle and the metal box (no connection to plastic box if used).

I think I'm covered as attic does not have permanent stairs and no floor, just beams.

"
  • 320.23.a Cables Run Across the Top of Floor Joists
    • "blah blah". Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 6 ft of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.
      • This code allowed me to lay the cable flat across the joists in the attic without protection. All the wire "was more than 6 feet" from the attic entrance.
"
 

iChris93

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3.3 kW limited by my vehicle. I’ll have a Tesla pulling 9.6 kW when I get it next week though. :) I don’t forsee any problems with the outlet

You gave me power not current ;).

Right now I am scheduled for delivery on 7/16 so let me know if you have any problems. It should be fine but saw one review of it melted and Tesla requests "heavy duty" outlets. I will have my outlet installed as soon as it gets delivered.